Senna '91: Ayrton prophet in his land

After several unsuccessful attempts, Ayrton Senna won the Brazilian Grand Prix in a race filled with emotion over gearbox problems in his car.


Dafter triumph achieved in the streets of Phoenix, during the opening of the 1991 tournament of the F1, Ayrton Senna traveled to his Brazil native to rest a few days in his farm in Angra dos Reis and, incidentally, to fill up with energy for the Grand Prix of his country, that which was still pending.

He spent the days accompanied by the Austrian Gerhard berger, your partner in McLaren. And although he was looking for tranquility, he did not find it. A photographer from the newspaper Folha do São Paulo he got into their privacy, but ended up with his camera thrown into the sea by Ayrton himself.

Ayrton Senna - 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix
Photo: www.ayrtonsenna.com.br.

The preview of the twentieth Brazilian Grand Prix, held on March 24, was full of emotions for the two-time champion. On the 20th he participated in the ceremony at the that the Interlagos kart track was named after him and the next day, in the paddock of the circuit, celebrated his 31st birthday with his family. Among the many gifts he received one from someone special, himself Bernie Ecclestone, head of the category and who felt a special appreciation for the Brazilian.

Until that moment the victory in “his” GP was something that made Senna desperate. The closest he'd come to winning had been in 1986 when in Rio de Janeiro finished second behind his compatriot Nelson Piquet. He had also reached the podium in 1990 thanks to his third place. The remaining presentations ended in dropouts and even exclusion (in 1988, for switching to the muletto after the green flag was waved in the previous round). To top it off the French Alain Prost, his archrival, had already won this race six times ...

Senna showed his firm intention to end the adverse streak in qualifying. The 1m16s392 at 203,817 km / h allowed him to achieve his 54th pole position and improve by one second the record of the previous year. However, he did not get too much out of his escorts: 3/10 to the Italian Riccardo Patrese and 4/10 to English Nigel Mansellboth of Williams.

Ayrton Senna - 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix
Photo: www.ayrtonsenna.com.br.

The rain that had been a constant in the previous days was also present on Sunday. A small downpour fell during the formation lap, although the wind took over to remove the moisture from the track.

Senna held the lead at the start and led the pack throughout the race, even in the rain. But the victory was not easy. His McLaren, which had been so reliable in the previous days, suffered serious gearbox problems that demanded the most from the Brazilian, that he was not willing to pass up the opportunity to win.

First it ran out of fourth gear. Then he lost the third and fifth; something that forced him to do the final part of the Grand Prix in sixth. Thus, in inferior technical conditions, he defended the point of the attacks of Mansell and Patrese.

Senna crossed the finish line victorious, but wasted due to physical effort since at various times he drove with one hand and with the other he held the gear lever to prevent it from jumping. He was so exhausted that he couldn't even wave the Brazilian flag that the track attendants caught up with him. The doctors assisted him inside the vehicle, stopped in a sector of the track in full lap of honor.

After several minutes, Senna got out of his McLaren, got into the Doctor Car and headed for the podium. On the precious platform, he raised the flag of his country as best he could and also made a great sacrifice to show the trophy that had been denied him so many times.

"I think I entered the unknown of the human being", said Senna when it was his turn to tell the sensations of his so special triumph. "A day like this, a weekend like this, with so much pressure, with so much heat that comes from the fans that shout your name and dance for you ... It takes you to another world", Agregó.

Ayrton Senna - 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix
Photo: www.ayrtonsenna.com.br.

Then he commented on the skills he did to win. “Twenty laps from the finish line, the little alerts I found with my box turned into big problems. The 3rd started jumping, then the 5th… At first, holding the lever, I managed to keep up. When Mansell changed the tires for the second time I thought I could breathe a little. But no, this story was crazy. I decided to use the 6th and keep it. Not know what to do. I went from 300 to 70 km / h just with the brake and with the engine pushing me and taking me out of the ideal trajectory. I thought I was screwed, but I put up with it. How did I do something like this? ". No one could answer that question ...

With this second consecutive victory, Senna established himself at the head of the championship with 20 points, eleven more than Prost, who had carried his Ferrari to a pale room set. "You have to check the chassis and the engine ... As long as you drive a car that is good in the previous lap and bad in the race, we are not going to get anywhere", shot the Gaul. They took over at the Scuderia and a few days later there was a massive meeting in Maranello to try to find a solution to the poor performance of the model 642.

After the excursion to the American continent, Formula 1 crossed the Atlantic to start its extensive European journey with the Grand Prix of San Marino dated April 24.

GRAND PRIZE OF BRAZIL 1991

POS. No. PILOT CAR VTAS TIME / DIF. PTS
1 1 Ayrton Senna MCLAREN HONDA 71 1:38:28.128 10
2 6 Riccardo Patrese WILLIAMS RENAULT 71 +2.991s 6
3 2 Gerhard Berger MCLAREN HONDA 71 +5.416s 4
4 27 Alain Cheers FERRARI 71 +19.369s 3
5 20 Nelson Piquet BENETTON FORD 71 +21.960s 2
6 28 Jean Alesi FERRARI 71 +23.641s 1
7 19 Roberto Moreno BENETTON FORD 70 +1 lap 0
8 24 Gianni Morbidely MINARDI FERRARI 69 DNF 0
9 11 Mika Hakkinen LOTUS JUDD 68 +3 laps 0
10 25 Thierry Boutsen LIGIER LAMBORGHINI 68 +3 laps 0
11 21 Emanuele Pirro DALLARA JUDD 68 +3 laps 0
12 7 Martin Brundle BRABHAM YAMAHA 67 +4 laps 0
13 32 Bertrand Gachot JORDAN FORD 63 DNF 0
NC 5 Nigel Mansell WILLIAMS RENAULT 59 DNF 0
NC 26 Erik Comas LIGIER LAMBORGHINI 50 DNF 0
NC 23 Pierluigi Martini MINARDI FERRARI 47 DNF 0
NC 8 Mark Blundell BRABHAM YAMAHA 34 DNF 0
NC 29 Eric Bernard LOLA FORD 33 DNF 0
NC 22 Jyrki Jarvilehto DALLARA JUDD 22 DNF 0
NC 33 Andrea by Cesaris JORDAN FORD 20 DNF 0
NC 4 Stephen Modena TYRRELL HONDA 19 DNF 0
NC 16 Ivan Hair LEYTON HOUSE ILMOR 16 DNF 0
NC 3 Satoru Nakajima TYRRELL HONDA 12 DNF 0
NC 15 Mauricio Gugelmin LEYTON HOUSE ILMOR 9 DNF 0

AVERAGE: 187,110 km / h. LAP RECORD: Mansell, on 35th, in 1: 20.436 / 1000 at 193,570 km / h. PILOT CHAMPIONSHIP: 1) Senna, 20 points; 2) Prost, 9; 3) Patrese and Piquet, 6; 5) Berger, 4; 6) Modena, 3; 7) Nakajima, 2; 8) Suzuki and Alesi, 1. BUILDERS CUP: 1) McLaren, 24 points; 2) Ferrari, 10; 3) Benetton and Williams, 6; 5) Tyrrell, 5; 6) Lola, 1.

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Diego durruty

Journalist with 30 years of experience. Worked in magazines STROKE, The graphic, Coequipier y Only TC, on the Internet sites SportsYa!, e-driver.com y kmcero.com and on the radios Rock pop y Vorterix.com. He covered the Dakar rally for the German agency dpa. He currently drives Two Daring Guys, a car magazine that is broadcast on Tuesdays from 18 to 19 by RadioArroba.com; is editor of motorsport in Red Bull Argentina, columnist on the show WorldSport (AM Splendid) and in Surf & Rock FM.  He is also a teacher in SPORTS. Now you can read it on his blog: automundo.com.ar.

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